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3 years, 3 months ago
REIN VOLLENGA: THE OBJECTS I CREATE ARE AN EXTENSION OF THE BODY
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'Biography' presents a wide selection of works from Elmgreen & Dragset's complex universe, including sculpture, performance and interactive installations. Works from the late 1990s onwards will be shown together with recent projects, ...
Photo Anders Sune Berg
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Your works have a specific unity. They are easily recognizable. Do you think you’ve found your way of expression or do you think that you’re still searching?

That’s an interesting question… the visual language that I express through my works is not something I’ve been searching for. It’s something that came natural for me. Even expressing myself in different media the same visual language comes to the surface every time. The way I create reflects my imagination and how I see the world.

photography by Jonas Lindström

photography by Jonas Lindström

If we look at your works, we see that some of them have a certain shape – fluid-like. How do you imagine these forms in the first place?

All the shapes I use in my work are object that we are surrounded by in our daily lives. I mainly collect objects in supermarkets, flea markets, party stores and on the street. I’m particularly interested in ambiguous shapes. For instance organic shapes that have a mass produced aesthetic. I’m really fascinated by this contradiction and friction within these objects.

photography by Jonas Lindström

photography by Jonas Lindström

The mask, at the beginning, was used mainly for ceremonies, disguise, for performance and entertainment. How are your masks used?

I’m really fascinated by tribal masks and traditional headgear and science fiction helmets. I never imagine before hand for who or what my objects are made for. My objects are not literally functional in that sense. I’d rather leave that to the viewer’s imagination.

How does one of your wearable works transform the person who wears it?

The objects I create are an extension of the body.

I’ve noticed that you like to mix baroque elements with contemporary ones, for example, as if there was a melting process. Can you tell us a little more about this process?

As I’ve mentioned… I collect a lot of objects. These objects come together in my studio. I call it the cabinet of rarities. From there I start creating… I cut, glue and assemble the objects together and transform them in to new shapes. It’s a really visceral process. A process of demolishing an recreating. The final shape gets covered in a layer of epoxy. This gets sanded in polished many times until it has the ‘perfect’ shape. Finally the object gets covered in several layers of paint and finished in a thick layer of lacquer.

photography by Jonas Lindström

photography by Jonas Lindström

Is there a story behind masks? If so, can you give us an example?

I don’t have a clear story with every series of pieces I create. But they are inspired by and built out of several elements that speak to my imagination. For instance I created a series of works based on insects, medieval armor and car parts.

How long do you work on one of your wearable works? Do you work alone or you have a team that helps you? Do you have an assistant? Who helps you with the production?

Depending on the project… the production of a piece can vary from a weeks till several months. It depends how complicated the design is. I mainly work alone and rarely work with assistants. This because I’m a control freak and love to make a piece from the beginning to the end myself. I don’t reproduce any pieces simply because it’s boring and I don’t like to repeat myself. I do reflect but my work is evolving all the time.

Your works are unconventional. How do they fit in the program of a gallery? Also, how do you present them: as pictures, as objects, using models?

I don’t show my wearable objects in a gallery that often. I think they function better within the context of theatre, contemporary dance or performance art. I also collaborate with pop musicians. I think it’s great to show my work outside the of a sterile environment of gallery and museum. In this way art becomes easier accessible and available for everyone… as it should be in my opinion.

copyrights Rein Vollenga

copyrights Rein Vollenga

It is clear that you are interested, if not fascinated, by the human body. Why is that?

I don’t know… It just feels very primal to me… I’ve always been fascinated by transformation and ambiguity.

You like to collaborate with other artists. I mention here Mugler, Lady Gaga and New Power Studio. How was it to work with them, since your artistic areas are different?

It’s really nice to have interaction with other artists… everybody has his own precious skills and ideas. In a good collaboration you invoke each other. This might bring you out of your comfort zone and challenges you to create and experience new things.

copyrights Rein Vollenga

copyrights Rein Vollenga

Your divide your works into Wearable and Sculptures, you exhibit in galleries, and at the same time your works are present on catwalks and in videos, your works seem to cross boundaries between artistic areas. If you were to work in another medium (artistic or not), what would you choose and why?

I would love to be a professional dancer, singer / performance artist. Simply because I love dancing… it’s really physical and pure. Right now I only dance when I’m clubbing… I’m not a bad dancer… but my moves are just coupled from hip hop videos. Unfortunately I’m not good with choreography.

Which contemporary artists you appreciate? Why?

Berlinde de Bruyckere, beautifully crafted and emotionally very intense work.

How would you describe your art? And which was the most unexpected thing someone said about your works?

I don’t like to describe my work, I like to leave that to the imagination of the viewer. I am aware that I can influence the way how people perceive or see the object I create… but I don’t want to teach or dictate anything.

photography by Jonas Lindström

photography by Jonas Lindström

​I imagine that you draw your inspiration from somewhere. What are you inspired by at the present moment?

Right now I’m fascinated by natural structures stones, sea shells. I’m also doing a lot of research about birds of prey.

Do you have a clear direction about the following years regarding your artistic vision or are you open to new things that would shift your plans?

I’m always open to new things. In the future I’d like to focus on working with contemporary dance groups, opera and theatre. I would love to work on stage design and costumes for a big production.

We can’t wait to hear which are the projects you take part in at the present moment, so do tell us.

Right now I’m collaborating with an American pop musician, unfortunately I can’t reveal more yet.

Thank you! We’ll keep an eye on your work!

photography by Jonas Lindström

photography by Jonas Lindström

 

photography by Jonas Lindström

photography by Jonas Lindström

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